Slough Cooperative Film Society Slough Cooperative Film Society

The Society has been showing the best of world and independent cinema in Slough for 70 years

 

25th September 2018 DATCHET VILLAGE HALL

BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY

USA 2017 88 mins


Film extracts: With:
Dishonored Lady
Samson and Delilah
Blazing Saddles
Mel Brooks
Jennifer Hom
Anthony Loder
Ray Windham
Manya Breuer
Guy P.Livingston
Boom Town Wendy Cotton Tony Rothman
Come Live with Me Fleming Meeks Prof. Danijela Cabric
H.M.Pulham Esq.
Ziegfeld Girl
Snow White and Seven Dwarfs
White Cargo
Father’s Little Dividend
Richard Rhodes
Jan-Christopher Horak
Jeanine Basinger
Peter Bogdanovich
Anne Helen Petersen
Diane Kruger
Stephen Michael Shearer
Robert Osborne
Denise Loder DeLuca

Director
Writer
Cinematographer
Editors

Music
Nino Amarena
Michael Tilson Thomas
Arthur A. McTighe
Lodi Loder
James L. Loder
William J. Birnes
Dr. Lisa Cassileth
David Hughes
Major Darrell Grob

Alexandra Dean
Alexandra Dean
Buddy Squires
Linda Jankura, Penelope Falk, Alexandra Dean
Keegan DeWitt,
Jeremy Bullock
Bombshell poster


Based around the discovery of a lost interview recorded on cassette tapes in 1990 when she was 76, this documentary traces the extraordinary journey of movie siren and brainy inventor Hedy Lamarr from her childhood in Austria to her reclusive old age in America. Filmmaker Dean assembles this beautifully, using Lamarr's own voice and a wealth of footage and stills.

Lamarr shared the screen with all of Hollywood's biggest stars as the most beautiful woman in movies. But she was always aware that no one took her seriously. "Any girl can look glamorous," she said famously. "All she has to do is stand still and look stupid." And now it emerges that Lamarr had a secret life of curiosity and scientific ambition, including a working friendship with Howard Hughes. She also came up with the idea that would lead to modern communications systems like WiFi and Bluetooth.

The main point here is that not only has she never received credit for her achievements, but she and her descendants were also robbed of the benefits. According to the filmmakers, the US government never paid her for her patent, which would amount to some $30bn today. And while Lamarr built the first ski resort in Aspen, it was stolen from her by a vindictive ex-husband. All of this unfolds in a lively narrative linked with voice recordings Lamarr made at age 76.

Along the way, the film traces her gadget-obsessed childhood in Austria, her naked on-screen romps in the early 1930s and her move to Hollywood. All the way, her beauty obscures people from seeing who she really is ("No one could get past my face"). The footage and stills are terrific, a comprehensive collection of materials that are beautifully assembled along with interviews with a wide range of friends, family and experts, who also trace her later years as a blur of addiction and plastic surgery.

There's also a timely reminder of the significant contribution this immigrant made to the US war effort (both through her inventions and selling war bonds) before being dismissed as an enemy alien. And when she stands up to this injustice, she is labelled as "difficult". So she was sidelined for decades before the truth came out. In recounting her story, this film is packed with emotional kicks. And it also carries an inspiring final message from Lamarr herself, reminding us that when the world treats us badly, we should give our best anyway.


Rich Cline at www.shadowsonthewall.co.uk